Last Updated: October 26, 2015 6

Khan Academy

Found In: Education

Khan Academy provides completely free access to an online library full of videos and exercises covering all of K-12 math. Also, you will find materials on K-12 subjects from Art History and Biology to Cryptography and Computer Programming. While designed for K-12, it can also easily be used as a lifelong learning resource. Supplemental and practice materials for tests such as the SAT, MCAT, and NCLEX-RN are also included. All at no cost to the user.
There is so much available on this website that I cannot possibly detail everything it offers. I will focus on the topics and functions I found to be most helpful.

  • Computer coding tutorials were something I enjoyed very much. There were three interactive and easy to follow tutorials available on programming:
    HTML-the language of tags that enable you to create a basic webpage, CSS-this is the secret language of all those fancy colors and designs of web pages, and
    JavaScript-if you or your child have ever wanted to learn how to animate web pages to make them interactive with buttons, dancing babies, and more, then this is the language to learn.
  • Interviews with Entrepreneurs is one of the most insightful topics I found so far. This section offers a half a dozen videos of interviews with Founders and CEO of popular companies. Students and adults hear first-hand how successful entrepreneurs Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn, or Scott Cook, Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee for Intuit, got to where they are today.
  • K-12 Math Skills are currently the main focus of the curriculum. Students can move through problems as their skills develop, at their pace, by using the library to look up specific skills or by accepting a math mission. In the math missions, warm-up exercises assess current knowledge of the skill. Students then have the option to dive into problems or watch an instructional video on that specific skill. If they get stuck or aren’t sure, they can ask for a hint, check their answer, or watch another video. Students are motivated to keep working forward by earning points for completed tasks, cool badges for their profile, and the chance to unlock fun, customizable avatars.
  • The entire library is searchable 24/7 for specific skills. From the home page seen here, you can quickly search for the topic you need help with.
    For example, don’t we all have trouble with fractions?
    I entered fractions in the search bar and up pops a list of the help available. Choose the specific fraction skill and jump right to that section. Use this library to brush up on fractions yourself so you can be ready to help your child with homework or your child can use the search bar to jump right to help on multiplying fractions, watch a video, and then finish her homework.

Navigating through the screens was very user-friendly and convenient. The whole site is very intuitive. It was fast and easy to create a new account. Here’s what I did:

  • Click on create an account and enter your name and email address. A nice feature was a window with a button right there, so I could click it and go right to my email login page.
  • Login to your email account.
  • Open the email from Khan Academy.
  • Click the green button right there in the middle of the page that says “Finish Signing Up.” No fuss, no muss.
  • Create a username and password for yourself.
  • Enter the birthdate, gender, and grade level of any child(ren) who will be using the site. Create a username and password for that child.

At this point, you are ready to logout and let your child login and start exploring, you can choose to add a second child account, or go to the parent page. The first thing to appear on the parent page is a window offering “7 Tips for helping your child succeed with Khan Academy”. Click the green button to “Get the Tips”. Use the navigation bars on the left side of the screen to move through the different sections.

Child accounts are setup to have one or more “coaches” who can monitor their progress. As a parent, I can login to see how my child is progressing through the skills. Coaches can be parents, teachers, grandparents, peers or older relatives, basically anyone you choose. Parents for kids under 13 are automatically coaches for their child. Your child can request someone to be their coach. Parents must approve for children under 13 years of age. Students can have more than one coach! So for example, both parents and their current math teacher.
Modify coach reports with the click of a mouse to show broad subject matter topics or specific skills.

In the Skills Progress report seen here, I can quickly see where my child is struggling when it comes to decimals.

The Activity report will show you specifically what your child was working on, how much time was spent on each specific skill, and even what time of day they were working via Khan Academy. There is the ability to add large groups of students and monitor progress for all of them which makes this a great resource for teachers to use with their entire class of students too.

I have to say that so far I am impressed with Khan Academy. The information is presented in a simple way that is easy to understand. The materials appeal to a variety of different learning styles. The website design is appealing. It’s professional but not overly formal.
My eleven-year-old daughter tried it out too. She experienced some frustration with using the scratch pad and mouse to work out math problems, but that is something that takes getting used to anyway.
Overall the whole website is easy to navigate. Free and without those annoying ads or popups. I am so glad to have found this new educational resource! Head on over to Khan Academy at khanacademy.org and check it out for yourself.